Winstead continued her Scream Queen roles in the body horror film The Thing (2011), as Mary Todd Lincoln in the fantasy horror film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) and in the monster film 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016).
Winstead was also cast in Roman Coppola's A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (2013), as Kate, "the best friend of [Charlie Sheen's] girlfriend who just broke up with him. In 2014, Winstead was given the title role in Alex of Venice, directed by Chris Messina and penned by Jessica Goldberg.
Winstead appeared opposite Aaron Paul in Smashed, an independent drama directed by James Ponsoldt about a married alcoholic couple (Paul and Winstead) whose relationship is put to test when the wife decides to get sober.
and saw Winstead snagging the Dallas International Film Festival Award for Best Actress.
Quentin Tarantino cast her as a well-intentioned but vapid and naïve actress in Death Proof, his high-speed segment of the double–feature exploitation horror Grindhouse.
She appeared alongside Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms, Zoë Bell, and Kurt Russell in the movie's second part, which followed a psychopathic stunt man, played by Russell, stalking and murdering young women.